Dreams from LORD 2003-2006
21 February 2005
Psalm 34: 21: “Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.”
Here is an excerpt from To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 by Edward G. Lengel. Chapter 16, page 251:
“Among the soldiers charged with carrying out Liggett’s plan was a tall, heavily freckled soldier with a thick red mustache, Corporal Alvin C. York. A deeply religious, semiliterate farmer from Fentress County, Tennessee—one of the poorest counties in the United States—York was a draftee and deeply uncomfortable with shedding human blood, whatever the cause. The War Department refused to grant him conscientious objector status, however, and his battalion commander and others succeeded in convincing him that military service was not inconsistent with God’s word. York served, but he never grew comfortable with war. Bayonet training with straw dummies left him feeling ‘queer to think I might have to cut up human beings. I still didn’t want to kill. I still did feel somehow that it was wrong—terrible wrong for human beings to take each other’s life.’
“All of which is not to say that York felt at all uncomfortable with guns. He grew up in an era when guns and hunting were inescapable staples of American rural life, and like Jack Barkley, another country boy, he was an excellent marksman. Yet York was a different kind of man. Where Barkley, like many Doughboys, thrived on gambling, drinking, cussing, and combat, York preferred the simple life.
“‘I had put all of the drinkin’ and fist-fightin’ away behind me. I left it back home on the Kentucky line. I didn’t have a drink all the time I was in France. I didn’t have a fist fight or an argument. I didn’t swear or smoke either. I wasn’t any better’n any of the other boys. It was jes my way of livin’, that was all.’
“York said nothing about the Lost Battalion in his diary in early October. Other thoughts occupied his mind. ‘We went out on the main road,’ he wrote on October 5th, ‘and lined up and started for the front and the Germans was shelling the road and airoplanes was humming over our heads and we were stumbling over dead horses and dead men and shells were Bursting all around me.’ Faced with such sights, he could only look up to Heaven and spread his hands. ‘Then it was,’ he wrote, ‘that I could see the Power of God helped man if he would only trust him.’ That—and a steady rifle.”